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Am J Pathol. 2009 Jul;175(1):161-70. doi: 10.2353/ajpath.2009.080962. Epub 2009 Jun 15.

Localized immunosuppressive environment in the foreign body response to implanted biomaterials.

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Department of Microbiology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1682, USA.


The implantation of synthetic biomaterials initiates the foreign body response (FBR), which is characterized by macrophage infiltration, foreign body giant cell formation, and fibrotic encapsulation of the implant. The FBR is orchestrated by a complex network of immune modulators, including diverse cell types, soluble mediators, and unique cell surface interactions. The specific tissue locations, expression patterns, and spatial distribution of these immune modulators around the site of implantation are not clear. This study describes a model for studying the FBR in vivo and specifically evaluates the spatial relationship of immune modulators. We modified a biomaterials implantation in vivo model that allowed for cross-sectional in situ analysis of the FBR. Immunohistochemical techniques were used to determine the localization of soluble mediators, ie, interleukin (IL)-4, IL-13, IL-10, IL-6, transforming growth factor-beta, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, interferon-gamma, and MCP-1; specific cell types, ie, macrophages, neutrophils, fibroblasts, and lymphocytes; and cell surface markers, ie, F4/80, CD11b, CD11c, and Ly-6C, at early, middle, and late stages of the FBR in subcutaneous implant sites. The cytokines IL-4, IL-13, IL-10, and transforming growth factor-beta were localized to implant-adherent cells that included macrophages and foreign body giant cells. A better understanding of the FBR in vivo will allow the development of novel strategies to enhance biomaterial implant design to achieve better performance and safety of biomedical devices at the site of implant.

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